Osgood Perkins

This article is about an actor. For his actor grandson, see Oz Perkins.
Osgood Perkins

Osgood Perkins as Walter Burns in
The Front Page (1928)
Born James Ripley Osgood Perkins
(1892-05-16)May 16, 1892
West Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died September 21, 1937(1937-09-21) (aged 45)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Actor
Years active 1922–1937
Spouse(s) Janet Esselstyn Rane
(married 1922–1937)
Children Anthony Perkins

Osgood Perkins (born James Ripley Osgood Perkins, May 16, 1892 – September 21, 1937) was an American actor.

Life and career

James Ripley Osgood Perkins was born in West Newton, Massachusetts, son of Henry Phelps Perkins, Jr., and his wife, Helen Virginia (née Anthony).[1] His maternal grandfather was wood engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony.[2] He was a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland. Perkins made his Broadway debut in 1924 in the George S. KaufmanMarc Connelly play Beggar on Horseback. In the next twelve years he would appear in 24 Broadway productions, including The Front Page and Uncle Vanya.

Despite his success as a leading man in the theatre, Hollywood viewed him as a character actor. He appeared in 12 silent films, including Puritan Passions, before moving to talkies such as Scarface and Gold Diggers of 1937.

"The best actor I ever worked with was Osgood Perkins," Louise Brooks told Kevin Brownlow. "You know what makes an actor great to work with? Timing. You don't have to feel anything. It's like dancing with a perfect dancing partner. Osgood Perkins would give you a line so that you would react perfectly. It was timing -- because emotion means nothing." Brooks and Perkins appeared together in Love 'Em and Leave 'Em (1926).

Perkins married Janet Esselstyn Rane in 1922. They had one child, actor Anthony Perkins. Osgood died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C., at age 45. His son was five years old at the time.

Osgood Perkins was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.[3]

Selected filmography


  1. Winecoff, Charles (2009). Split File: The Life of Anthony Perkins. Diane Pub Co. p. 10. ISBN 078819870X.
  2. http://www.bosarchitecture.com/backbay/beacon/196.html
  3. "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame." The New York Times, March 3, 1981.
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